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Donald Trump's Refusal To Attend Joe Biden's Inauguration Makes Him Unable To Hand Over 'Nuclear Football'

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Donald Trump's Refusal To Attend Joe Biden's Inauguration Makes Him Unable To Hand Over 'Nuclear Football'

President Donald Trump will not be in attendance to watch on as his successor is sworn into office, which means the usual handing over of the 'nuclear football' won't go ahead.

The briefcase contains the equipment Trump would use to order a nuclear attack, including plans, access to command and control systems as well as the mechanism for authorising nuclear codes.

The President also must carry the 'nuclear biscuit' - a plastic card containing codes which identify the President and give him authority to authorise a nuclear attack - at all times.

Preparation is underway for the inauguration. Credit: PA
Preparation is underway for the inauguration. Credit: PA
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During a normal inauguration ceremony, the nuclear football is usually handed from one presidential aide to the other but, as we all know, this isn't going to be the usual sort of thing.

CNN reports that Trump will leave Washington D.C. at around 8am and fly to his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. He will take the nuclear football with him.

Stephen Schwartz, senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, told the publication: "There are at least three to four identical 'footballs': one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses.

"On January 20, [the extra footballs] will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just [Vice President Mike] Pence's briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Mr Biden."

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The nuclear football in 2017. Credit: PA
The nuclear football in 2017. Credit: PA

Under the 20th amendment, Trump must have access to the nuclear football until 12pm, when Biden takes over as president.

Schwartz continued: "If an aide with the football accompanies Trump on Air Force One to Florida, that aide will remove himself or herself from Trump's presence at noon and return to Washington, DC, with the briefcase."

Vipin Narang, a nuclear policy expert at MIT, told CNN: "The easiest way to think about it is there is a seamless cutover as to which 'biscuit' is valid at noon Wednesday.

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"Biden's biscuit would not be valid at 11.59am, and Trump's would not be valid at 12.01pm."

Last night (19 January), 74-year-old Trump issued his farewell speech to America, thanking everyone for their support over the last four years.

He said: "This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous.

"Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning.

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"All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol... political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans... [and] can never be tolerated."

Credit: Donald Trump/YouTube
Credit: Donald Trump/YouTube

Trump reflected on how he had limited political experience when he entered the White House on 20 January 2017, but he relished every opportunity.

"Four years ago, I came to Washington as the only true outsider ever to win the presidency," he said, adding: "I had not spent my career as a politician, but as a builder looking at open skylines and imagining infinite possibilities.

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"I ran for President because I knew there were towering new summits for America just waiting to be scaled. I knew the potential for our nation was boundless as long as we put America first.

"I left behind my former life and stepped into a very difficult arena, but an arena nevertheless with all sorts of potential if properly done. America had given me so much and I wanted to give something back."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, US News

Rebecca Shepherd
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